SHE'S NO LONGER IN “WAITING”:
A FEW YEARS AFTER HER AWARD-WINNING BREAKTHROUGH HIT “ANGELS IN WAITING,”
LETS HER FANS KNOW ‘WHERE I AM'
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Poignant Video For Cochran's Top Ten Country Song Earned Her Numerous Accolades, Including A Billboard Music Video Award,
And Led Her To Become A Spokesperson For Cystic Fibrosis,
A Disease That Claimed Her Two Brothers Who Inspired The Song
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Cochran Took A Break From The Whirlwind Of Fame
—And a Crazy Schedule Of 120 Tour Dates A Year—
To Focus On Her Growth As A Songwriter
A classic case of an overnight success that took almost exactly ten years, Tammy Cochran rose to fame in 2001—earning acclaim as country music's greatest new voice, with comparisons to legends like Patsy Cline—with a personal, heartfelt song whose overwhelming impact came as a complete surprise. “It wasn't supposed to even be a single,” she says of her ballad “Angels In Waiting” (from her self-titled debut album), which hit #9 on Billboard's Country Singles Chart on its road to an incredible series of accolades. “I never really thought people beyond my own family would be able to relate to it.”
Thousands of fans across the world connected not only with the song, but also with the emotionally compelling video, which featured home movie clips of Cochran as a little girl playing with her brothers Shawn and Alan, who both died young (Shawn at 14, Alan at 23) from cystic fibrosis.
The video not only won a handful of major awards—including a Billboard Music Video Award and Video Of The Year at the Christian Country Awards—but turned Cochran into a spokesperson and fundraiser for the illness, a role that continues to this day. She was featured in Family Circle in a section called “Women Who Make A Difference” and appeared as a nurse to a CF patient on Billy Ray Cyrus' Pax TV show Doc. Cochran has also done numerous concerts in conjunction with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Those incredible experiences taught her the power of great songwriting, a gift Cochran has been working hard at developing since releasing her follow-up album Life Happened, whose title track became a Top 15 country hit. She has no regrets about cutting back her tour schedule, which topped out at 120 tour dates a few years ago, to focus on honing her craft these past few years.
Her fans may not be angels, but they've been waiting a long time for Cochran's powerful new album whose title says it all, Where I Am (produced by Anita Cochran and Mark Thompson). While Tammy had a creative hand on a small handful of tracks on her first two albums—including “Angels In Waiting,” which she wrote with Jim McBride and Stewart Harris--the longtime Nashville resident wrote or co-wrote all 12 of the new songs.
“The reason I started to make "Where I Am" was to show that I'm a songwriter as well as a singer,” she says, “and I'm proud of the wide variety of music on the album. While I was very proud of my previous work, this is the album I always wanted to do, where I could share things about myself that I never get to when I'm onstage entertaining. I have always gotten a huge positive reaction during my shows to songs that I have written myself, and the tunes here are an extension of that. I put a lot of personal feelings and real life experiences into these songs.”
Cochran wrote two of her favorite songs on Where I Am with longtime collaborator Patricia Gray. Her ballad “Nobody's Home” is a semi-autobiographical tale about a woman who buries herself for years in her work, accumulates a big house and many beautiful things, only to realize there's something greater missing. “It's about me seeing the way so many friends of mine are married, have families and trampolines in the backyard,” Cochran says. “The part that's fictional is the woman's materialism. I don't place a lot of value on designer clothes!” “So Long” tackles the common, we've all been there theme of staying in a relationship that's comfortable and easy when your heart knows it's time to move on.
Cochran wrote the unabashedly optimistic “And More” herself, chronicling the beautiful feelings a person gets when they start falling in love. “It's about being on the fence, and wondering if it's really love or just the newness of the feeling,” she says. “At some point you decide it's worth the risk.”
The singer composed the southern gospel-flavored title track Where I Am with well-known Nashville writers Tommy Polk (Martina McBride, Crystal Gayle) and Verlon Thompson. “This one's about going through hard times that you wouldn't wish on anyone, and realizing that the people who matter won't give up on you during them,” she says. “My favorite line is, ‘I've had to go through the worst to get to the best I've ever been.'”
While Cochran and her parents Mabel and Delmar have certainly been through the worst in surviving the loss of her brothers, the relationship the singer enjoys today with her parents is as strong as it was the day they moved with her to Nashville from their little town of Austinburg, Ohio.
Back home, the singer had been in various bands and fronted her own called TC Country, opening for Melba Montgomery and other stars who passed through the region. After graduating high school, she did a brief stint at a vocational school “for something to fall back on,” but her parents urged her to pursue her dreams. When she finally committed to a singing career and moved to Nashville, they moved right along with her—and still live in Music City to this day.
“Through all the ups and downs in this crazy business, my greatest motivation to keep going has been the support of my family,” Cochran says. “Other parents would have given up by now and told me to get a real job, but they've been just great. I've learned that it's easier to pursue your dream if you surround yourself with people who believe in it as much as you do.
“Between all of the opportunities that ‘Angels In Waiting' brought to me and just being able to touch fans through my music and performances, these past years have been an incredible blessing,” she adds. “The best part of the journey is just the ride itself. So many people have dreams that never come to fruition and it's hard sometimes that I had this chance to make mine a reality. No matter how long my career lasts, just knowing I did that is the best thing in the world.”